Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Charles Lee, 1 October 1791

To Charles Lee

Treasury Department
October 1 1791


An enquiry was made at this Office, during your absence from Alexandria relative to the case of Teas arriving in your district not accompanied with certificates. In consequence of which I request that you would inform the Surveyor, that in all cases wherein the marking of the packages or other circumstances prove the Teas to have been imported since the first of April last, the production of a certificate is to be required, and, if not produced, that the package or packages are to be seized. But in cases wherein there is no ground to believe that the Teas were imported since the 1st April 1791, after a very careful examination into circumstances, the Teas must be permitted to pass.1

I am, Sir,   Your Most Obedt Servant

A Hamilton

Charles Lee Esqr.
Collr Alexandria

LS, RG 56, Letters to and from the Collectors at Alexandria, National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters to Collectors at Small Ports, “Set G,” National Archives.

1Section 4 of “An Act making farther provision for the collection of the duties by law imposed on Teas, and to prolong the term for the payment of the Duties on Wines” reads as follows:

And be it further enacted, That all teas which, after the first day of April next, shall be imported into the United States from any foreign port or place, shall be landed under the care of the inspectors of the revenue for the ports where the same shall be respectively landed; and for that purpose every permit which shall be granted by any collector, for landing the same, shall, prior to such landing, be produced to the said inspector, who by an endorsement thereupon under his hand, shall signify the production thereof to him, and the time when; after which, and not otherwise, it shall be lawful to land the teas mentioned in such permit. And the said inspector shall make an entry of all such permits, and of the contents thereof; and each chest, box or package containing any teas, shall be marked by the officer under whose immediate inspection the same shall be landed, in legible and durable characters, with progressive numbers, and with the name of the vessel in which the same shall have been imported. And the said officer shall grant a certificate for each such chest, box or package, specifying therein the name or names of the importer or importers, the ship or vessel in which the same shall have been imported, and the number thereof to accompany the same wheresoever it shall be sent.

“And whereas, for the payment of the duties accruing on Maderia wines, and which may be secured by bond, the term of twelve months is allowed; and it is proper to extend, in like manner, the payment of the duties accruing on other wines.” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 220–21 [March 3, 1791].)

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